Director: Eran Creevy
Cast: Riz Ahmed, Daniel Mays, Jason Flemyng
First came Kidulthood. Then Kidulthood put on some chest hair for Adulthood. But now the British urban movie is all grown up: Shifty, the debut feature from director Eran Creevy, is a mature and gripping film. We see Shifty (Ahmed) welcome back his old mate Chris (Mays) from Manchester, who's on a flying visit for 24 hours. So he takes Chris on his rounds. Drug rounds, that is. He’s not a doctor.
Encountering the desperate locals, Chris is uncomfortable with Shifty’s style of living – after all, he left the area four years ago and now has a job. And a mortgage. Shifty, meanwhile, is still stuck in the old ways, popping pills to pensioners and construction workers with failed families.
As the two recall old times, their connection is undercut by the tension between their two lives; the couple are utterly convincing as estranged acquaintances, bringing an engaging warmth to this character-driven drama.
Creevy keeps the conventions to a minimum, ducking the usual bouts of macho violence and street-smart swearing. Even the dodgy geezer Glen (Flemyng) avoids stereotype as events build up to the clichéd conclusion – which, wonderfully, doesn’t ruin the realistic edge of this understated gem.
Simple, subtle and shot on the cheap, Shifty is everything an indie Brit flick should be. Excellent.